The recent Tokyo Motor Show was an unofficial celebration of the Japanese car industry's sports car heritage – and potential future.
Concept cars previewing reborn examples of the Mazda RX-7, Nissan GT-R, Honda Prelude and more were the headline acts in Tokyo. And it got us thinking about what sports cars we'd love to see make a comeback.
Whether they're all-electric, hybrid or just old-fashion petrol-powered here are five famous nameplates we'd like to see back on the road. Obviously it's a little biased towards the recent Japanese showcase, but there are a few other names at the end of our list to excite Australian sports car fans…
The GT-R hasn't been gone long, but it has been a very long-time since the R35 first arrived. So, in other words, it's long overdue for replacement.
Thankfully, it seems Nissan agrees and showed off the Hyper Force in Tokyo, a 1000kW, all-wheel drive sports car concept that previews a potential GT-R successor. While not everyone will love the idea of an all-electric GT-R, and we'll certainly miss the twin-turbo V6 engine of the R35, 1000kW certainly sounds appealing.
The catch is, Nissan's concept was powered by a solid-state battery, a technology that promises lower weight and faster charger but is still years away from being production ready. Fingers crossed we don't have to wait too long for the GT-R to return officially.
There isn't a die-hard sports car fan in the world that isn't hoping the RX-7 returns. It's been a long time coming but there's seemingly progress being made, with the latest Iconic SP Concept the most production-ready teaser Mazda has ever produced.
This swoopy coupe was powered by a twin-rotary engine that actually acts as a range-extender for the electric powertrain, which combines future needs with the RX-7's trademark rotary engine.
Fingers crossed Mazda has the money and resources to push this into production and bring back one of the most sports car models in history.
After a long period just focusing on sensible models, like the Camry, Toyota returned to the performance market with the 86 and then brought back the Supra. Which leaves a gap in the line-up, which used to be filled by the compact, mid-engine MR2.
The FT-Se Concept at the Tokyo show was another tease of a potential return of the MR2, albeit with an electric powertrain. Toyota's upper management has long talked about reviving the MR2 as the third member of its ‘sports car family' and already showed off the ‘Sports EV Concept' back in late 2021, as part of a showcase of its electric future, so it's clearly a topic front-of-mind.
A compact electric sports car with a mid-mounted battery pack has exciting potential.
Moving away from Japan and across to the USA, Dodge has been preparing to launch the world's first ‘eMuscle car' by dropping its Hemi V8 for a new electric powertrain. Previewed in the Charger SRT Daytona Concept, this replacement for both the Charger sedan and Challenger coupe features a raft of new tech to try and make an EV as emotionally engaging as a V8.
This includes a digital exhaust that's reportedly louder than the Hemi and virtual manual gearbox, as well as a dual-motor, all-wheel drive powertrain. But it seems even Dodge isn't convinced the world is ready for an electric muscle car.
Which is why there have been recent rumours that Dodge is also planning to install its latest ‘Hurricane' 3.0-litre twin-turbo inline six-cylinder petrol engine under the bonnet. While not a V8 it still makes a healthy 313kW of power and 634Nm of torque, so it's got plenty of punch.
It's been nearly 30 years since the 928 disappeared from the Porsche line-up and the combination of 911 and 718 is adding up to a successful sports car philosophy for the German brand. But we still can't help wishing for the return of the front-engine coupe, which would give the brand another dimensions.
It was only a few years ago that a senior Porsche executive admitted that the company hadn't ruled out a two-door version of the Panamera, so it's not a completely far-fetched idea.
The company could use a shortened version of the Panamera underpinnings and it already has a twin-turbo V8 that fits under the bonnet, so all the pieces are there for a return.